A First Timer’s Take on Idea Festival

An entrepreneur and good friend of the KIX team, Burt Walker, was a first time attendee to Idea Festival this year.  We graciously agreed to be a guest blogger and share his experience.


I’ve been hearing great things about Idea Festival for years, but until this year, I’ve never attended.   This year I had no excuse and fortunately, I was given a chance to attend as a guest of the Kentucky Innovation Network. On the way home, I scolded myself for waiting this long to attend as I contemplated all the ones I’d missed in the past.

I’m an entrepreneur and when I attend events like this, I inevitably do so looking through that lens.  On the continuum of level-of-interest in entrepreneurship ranging from say, “bored” to “very interested,” I fall well into the category of “obsessed.”

The latest and biggest buzzword in world of entrepreneurs, startups, and innovation is “Disruption.”  In the lexicon of the average person, this is usually a word with negative connotations.  Not so among the community of entrepreneurs.  Disruption is a great thing.  If a startup can be disruptive to its industry and offer value, it has a much better chance of succeeding.  It’s the equivalent of  “a better mousetrap.”  So, when I noted that one of the goals of Idea Festival is to create a collaborative environment of disruptive change, I knew it was something that would be of great interest to me.

I attended on the first full day, and it was clear to me there was a theme.  It was about communication, and primarily about unique, and often overlooked ways of communicating more successfully.

I learned that it is indeed possible to think like Sherlock Holmes from a noted author and how magicians manipulate and fool the smartest among us from a professional magician.  I also heard firsthand what it’s like to be imprisoned for 16 years for something you didn’t do and how poor communication and preconceived ideas resulted in the speaker’s wrongful conviction.  And finally, I saw how stand-up comedy isn’t just about being funny.  It’s actually sometimes practiced with scientific precision.  What’s more, comedy can often lead to people listening to and seeing things from a different perspective, when all other forms of communication would fail.   All of these talks were evenly woven with the theme of creative and often unrecognized forms of communication and how they can be used in beneficial ways.

As a businessman, it’s not hard to understand the importance of effective communication, but sometimes, we need to take off our old hats and put on new ones, just so we can see and understand things from a different point of view.  As an entrepreneur, its value is even more pronounced because we often need to communicate new ideas to people who are often very skeptical and uninterested.

My first day at Idea Festival was enormously rewarding.  I was amused, enlightened, informed, educated, and inspired.  It was evident from the diverse group in attendance, that it would be the same for people of all areas of professional life.  After all, who doesn’t benefit from better communication? It’s hard to think a day like that could be anything but worth the time and effort to attend.

I encourage anyone, regardless of age or area of interest to attend Idea Festival.  And by the way, if you go to Idea Festival and you don’t come away a better person,…well, I recommend seeing a therapist.

Career Opportunities and Resources for Employment (CORE) Supports Region’s Immigrants

People from all over the world call our region home. And many of our region’s employers have a global footprint.

Did you know that our region is also home to Kentucky’s only field office for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as the Kentucky office of Refugee Resettlement?

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has often spoke of being a welcoming and inclusive community that supports all of our international citizens from “refugee to PhD.”

The city’s Career Opportunities and Resources for Employment (CORE) program brings career resource opportunities to the increasing number of foreign born-residents throughout the region.

WorldFest Louisville, KYThe second annual CORE event will take place on Friday, August 30, from 1:00-5:00pm at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

The program will held in conjunction with Worldfest, a celebration of our global culture with international food, music, and other events.

If your company is interested in getting involved in the CORE program, contact Peggy Baas at 502-574-1379, Peggy.Baas@louisvilleky.gov, or Brenda Frank at 502-574-2018, Brenda.Frank@louisvilleky.gov, by August 16, 2013.

For more information about WorldFest, visit the website.

New Regional Sports Park Hosts a National Youth Baseball Tournament

KIX team member Conrad Curry finds a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in our region: at a venue that is attracting visitors from all over the country. Read more about Conrad’s outing to a great regional asset – the Elizabethtown Sports Park.

New Regional Sports Park Hosts a National Youth Baseball Tournament
by Conrad Curry

Elizabethtown Sports Park

One of the things I most look forward to is taking my grandsons out to lunch and a movie on Saturdays. This week was no different, but with an early lunch and “World War Z” not starting until 2 pm, it looked as if we’d have some time on our hands. Then I remembered that the Athletics Baseball Youth Nationals were underway at the Elizabethtown Sports Park. Why not take in a game, I thought?

There are 88 teams in the tournament ranging from under-9 to under-14 in six divisions. Some teams, along with thousands of fans and parents, had traveled from as far away as Hawaii to get here. And since we’re just a few miles from the park, it made perfect sense for us to take advantage. The boys agreed.

When we arrived at noon the parking lots were crowded with vehicles bearing

license plates from many states and games already being played on every field. The grandstands were filled with cheering fans, and the atmosphere very similar to that of a major league ballgame. Visitors to the facility, many wearing their team’s colors, were lined up at the concession stands, walking on the paths that separate the fields, or sitting at one of the many convenient benches or picnic tables eating hotdogs, popcorn, and other traditional ballpark treats. Everyone looked like they were

having a good time. I know we were.

The Sports Park itself is pristine, with 12 ball diamonds groomed to big league perfection. It’s difficult to imagine that only a few years ago this same area had been a mostly wooded floodplain. But what started as a dream for a few local visionaries has become a world class athletic facility, and one that is dr

awing the attention of an entire nation. The Youth Nationals are living proof of that.

We found seats at a “12 and under” game that was just starting, featuring a Louisville team going up against a squad from Texas. Soon we were cheering, swapping stories, and enjoying the game with a group of folks who had just driven two days from Austin to get here. All of them were totally in awe of the Sports Park and of the well organized, professionally executed event they were taking part in. And since they would be in town for two weeks, each was looking forward to seeing more of our region. Many had already made plans to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and to catch some races at Churchill Downs. I proudly suggested a few

other local attractions they might enjoy, recommended some favorite restaurants, and provided directions.

One of the things that make baseball such a popular pastime is the shared experience. Fans have a common love for a terrific sport, and watching talented kids playing good old-fashioned baseball is the game at its purest. How lucky I am, I thought, to have the Sports Park right here in my own backyard and an opportunity to share it with my grandsons; not to mention some new friends from the Lone Star State.

Elizabethtown Sports Park

The Elizabethtown Sports Park is an easy drive from anywhere in the region, and it doesn’t cost a dime to get in. The Youth Nationals tournament won’t be ending until July 4, so if you’ve got t

he time, I highly recommend a visit to see this, or one of the many other events scheduled at the park. Find out more here. It’s a trip you’ll truly enjoy.



They’re Looking for a Few Great Ideas

Attention Indiana Entrepreneurs — Mark August 28 on your calendars. That’s when the 2nd Annual Risk-It Competition, sponsored by the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), is being held.

“The competition is a great opportunity for Indiana entrepreneurs to show off their best and most innovative ideas,” said Blayr Barnard,  Regional Director, ISBDC. “So if you’re an entrepreneur with an exceptional idea for a new business, product, or process, you are encouraged to enter.”

Six to eight finalists will be chosen by members of the Southeast ISBDC, from entries received prior to July 15, 2013, and contacted by email. And all entries will be eligible for no-cost counseling from ISBC’s knowledgeable staff.

Finalists will travel to historic Madison, Indiana’s Venture Out Business Center on August 28 to present their ideas to assembled guests and a select panel of judges. Each finalist will have five minutes to make their pitch to the audience and judges, and both the audience and judges will vote on the idea that they believe to be the best and most marketable.

Three awards will be given: the Judge’s 1st and 2nd Place Awards, and the People’s Choice Award. The Judge’s winners will receive cash awards: $2500 for 1st place, $1000 for 2nd, as well as other valuable benefits including the opportunity to work with the ISBDC and other local business professionals to develop their idea into a viable business venture. The People’s Choice winner will receive half of admission fees (based on audience size).  Winners be announced that night and further honored at the LEADS Indiana Awards Luncheon in Jeffersonville, Indiana on November 13, 2013.

To learn more about the Risk-It competition, and to submit your entry, visit www.Riskitindiana.org. It’s a great opportunity to help bring your best idea to fruition, and a great way for Indiana to encourage entrepreneurial thinking.

Disney Institute Coming to Ivy Tech, Teaching Creativity and Innovation

Our region is a place where innovation and creativity are encouraged and valued. And this year, we again have the opportunity to learn from one of the most creative, successful and innovative organizations in the world.

That’s right The Walt Disney Company is coming back to Indiana. The professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company, Disney Institute, will be at Ivy Tech Community College in Southern Indiana on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

The Disney Institute operates to engage organizations in time-tested best practices, sound methodologies, and real life business lessons that facilitate corporate culture change.

Ivy Tech Community College is offering the program, “Disney’s Approach to Creativity and Innovation.” Learn how the company continues to successfully engage and organize the creative power of its employees.  This interactive full-day event will teach participants skills to analyze their own organizations, and innovative ways to  create action steps that will maximize the flow of creativity among their employees.

Who Should Attend
Managers and those interested in benchmarking the business practices of the highly regarded Disney Company, learning more about their well deserved reputation for creativity and innovation, and how to foster this type of culture within your organization.

You will learn how to:

  • Adapt Disney concepts and practices for optimizing creativity and innovation.
  • Structure a foundation for a collaborative culture within your organization.
  • Promote an organizational identity that unites employees in a common purpose.
  • Encourage risk taking with a strong, well-communicated organizational identity.
  • Improve business results through effective structural systems.
  • Evaluate the links between leadership and organizational creativity and innovation.

Here are more specifics, including registration and cost information:

Who: Organization Executives, Business Managers & Team Leaders

When: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Where:  Ivy Tech Community College Ogle Hall, Horseshoe Community Room

8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg, IN  47172


Early Bird Special……..$359.00
After July 2, 2013……..$399.00
Group of 4……………..$1,400.00 ($350.00 per person)
Group of 8……………..$2,500.00 ($312.50 per person)

Groups/Registration: Angela Henderson (800) 321-9021 ext. 4704 or


Additional Questions: Michael Wolf (812) 248-4232 or mwolf36@ivytech.edu

Register Online: www.ivytech.edu/disneyinstitute

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Panel Announced for EnterpriseCorp’s 2013 Signature Event

EnterpriseCorps Signature EventEach year EnterpriseCorp, the enterprise development arm of Greater Louisville Inc., hosts its Signature Event which celebrates ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit in the Greater Louisville region.

This year, nationally recognized Ben Yoskovitz will discuss learning offered in his new book, “Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster.” Yoskovitz was the CEO and co-founder of Standout Jobs. He is currently the vice president of product at GoInstant, as well as Founding Partner at Year One Labs, and is the author of the Instigator blog.

The event will also include an entrepreneurial panel discussion on trends in venture capital and private equity featuring:

Jonathan Blue, Chairman & Managing Director, Blue Equity
Dale J. Boden, President, B F Capital, Inc.
Tony Schy, Managing Director, Velocity Southern Indiana
Wright Steenrod, Partner, Chrysalis Ventures

The event takes place on Tuesday, June 18 from 5:00 – 7:30pm at the Kentucky Center for Arts.

The first 100 people to register for EnterpriseCorp’s Signature Event receive a copy of Yoskovitz’s book for free. Registration is $25 per person.

Click here to register for this year’s Signature Event.

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Update: KWIB Announces New Location for Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit

Kentucky Work Ready CommunitiesDue to overwhelming interest, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) is moving its first Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit on May 16 from 300 Fair Oaks Lane in Frankfort to the Capital Plaza Hotel at 405 Wilkinson Blvd. in Frankfort. Since more space is available, more people can register for the event by the April 30 deadline.

The event is from 8 a.m. – noon.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program website at http://workready.ky.gov.

Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit in May will help counties prepare for economic growth

Kentucky work ready communitiesFRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2013) – The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) is hosting its first Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit May 16 from 8 a.m. – noon at 300 Fair Oaks Lane in Frankfort. Space for the summit is limited, so advance registration is required.

The free summit is designed to help communities that want to improve their economic development potential by working toward Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification. The certification assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program has become so popular that we wanted to give community leaders an opportunity to share their successes and network with each other, and provide an event for communities that are interested in the program to learn more about it,” said Crystal Gibson, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and vice president of Public Affairs at Citigroup. “Community leaders who have gone through the application process will speak at the summit and be available at table discussions to give insight into the program and how it has benefitted their areas.”

In the year since Kentucky launched the program, 19 counties have been certified as Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress, and 34 are going through the application process or have shown an interest in the program.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program has strenuous requirements that show that a local area has the skilled workforce and community support necessary to be competitive in a 21st century economy,” said Ed Holmes, chair of KWIB. “The requirements are based on input from business and industry, and economic development leaders in Kentucky and that increases the appeal of the program for businesses that are looking to build or expand.”

To be designated a Kentucky Work Ready Community, business, education, economic and elected leaders must collaborate and apply for the certification. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy. Boyle, Daviess, Henderson, Warren and Woodford counties have been certified as Kentucky Work Ready Communities.

If a community is close to certification and is committed to reaching the criteria in three years, it is may be designated as a Work Ready Community in Progress.

Summit participants will have an opportunity to network during a continental breakfast sponsored by the Foundation for Kentucky Industry, Kentucky Association of Counties and Kentucky Association for Economic Development. Representatives from Daviess, Hopkins, Madison, Pulaski, Russell and Trigg counties will discuss the six requirement areas of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program and their best practices. Members of the program’s review panel will field questions from participants about the process and criteria.

The summit is geared toward Kentucky Work Ready Communities committee members, elected officials, economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, human resource managers, business owners, school officials, business and industry associations, community college representatives, P-16 Councils, adult education directors and Kentucky Workforce Investment Boards.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program website at http://workready.ky.gov.

Building Cultural Awareness

GLI Cultural ToursDid you know that there are more than 75 nationalities represented in our region?  And it’s that diverse culture that helps make our region prosper and grow. With the globalization of our economy, building a greater understanding of the world’s many great cultures can benefit us not only personally but help businesses succeed. One of Kix’s managing partners, Greater Louisville Inc (GLI), certainly understands that.

After last year’s successful trip to Cuba, GLI is providing another great opportunity for people in our region to get a first hand look at two thriving economies. On tap this year are trips to ancient Turkey and Brazil. GLI wants to to “create a unique global cultural awareness experience with a one of a kind networking opportunity.” Both trips will offer insight into the region, the culture, history, and the international business climate. Many tourist attractions will also be a part of each trip.

Both trips will offer networking opportunities with local government or businesses in the growing business community. So whether you desire to build a global strategy plan for your business or are just looking to expand your personal knowledge of different thriving cultures, either trip will appeal to you.

To register for these trips or for more information, contact Michael Iacovazzi Pau 502-625-0070 ormiacovazzi-pau@greaterlouisville.com. To get a more detailed itinerary or for more information click here.


May 23 – June 3

$2590 per person

As one of the top 10 travel destinations, Turkey welcomes more than 23 million visitors every year. This trip will include visits to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadochia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Troy, Canakkale and more. Experience the rich heritage of Turkey’s mosques and ancient palaces. This friendly, beautiful and modern city is full of excitement to fill your 12-day trip. If you are interested in this trip, attend an informational meeting February 21 @5:45 at the GLI office, 614 West Main Street Suite 6000.


September 25-October 3

$3650 per person

If you are looking for adventure, Brazil is the place to be. Named the “Best Destination in the World” for adventure by National Geographic, Brazil promises a dynamic experience. Brazil currently tops the charts as one of the most desired places to do business. Cities planned for visiting on this tour include: Sao Paulo, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf mountain and more. If you are interested in this trip an informational meeting is planned for March 14.


image credit: GLI

From Rail to Trail—Big Four Bridge Opens to Pedestrians and Bicyclers

Big Four Bridge openingIt’s a project that has been in the works for more than two decades for the Waterfront Development Corp., but now the vision has become a reality. The Big Four Bridge that formerly served as a railroad bridge, officially opened to pedestrians and bicyclers today, February 7, 2013. This monumental development serves as a tremendous effort to connect the region between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana, and to promote health and wellness.

Waterfront Development Corp. Executive Director David Karem said that this is “clearly the most anticipated project of Waterfront Park.”

The bridge originally got its name in 1895 from the railroad cities that were serviced through this railroad bridge—Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis—but a train hasn’t chugged across this bridge since the late 1960s.

Work on the Louisville side totaled $12 million to convert the railroad bridge to a cross-river bridge. The Indiana ramp, which is still under construction, has an estimated cost of $10 million. New cables for light installation were added along with metal benches, control boxes, and finishing wire for lights extending the Kentucky-side ramp.

Although Karem said that this 2,525 foot long bridge may still undergo some “fine tuning,” it is ready for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

The informal ceremony this morning was presided over by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. A dedication service is planned for mid-2013 when the Jeffersonville approach to the bridge is complete.

Pedestrians and bicyclers will have direct access to the bridge 24 hours a day, except on special occasions. What a great opportunity to connect and explore our region on both sides of the river! Hope to see on the Big 4!


image courtesy of Mayor Greg Fischer